We are in the midst of a fairly active and important election season in my local area. Many critical positions are up for grabs which is clearly illustrated by the large number of individuals who have thrown their hat in the ring. I am sure there are varying motivations by the candidates as to why they are running. Personally, I try to give them all the benefit of the doubt that their primary motivation is to make a positive difference. I don’t expect to agree with every candidate, but I do expect them to have the courage of their convictions. Having studied leadership and politics for quite a long time now, the following characteristics emerge as indicative of whether or not someone will be effective once they assume office:
Month: August 2013
I spend a majority of my work life in meetings or one on one conversations. It never ceases to amaze me the different attitudes people have about basic communication and meeting etiquette. We’ve all read countless article about the importance of “being present” and minimizing distractions, but I’m not sure the message is sticking. Moreover, I haven’t seen one article that supports the premise that multi-tasking makes you more effective as a leader. In fact, it is quite the contrary.
As my kids begin another school year school this morning, it is always interesting to watch how both the children and parents are transitioning. In some cases either the kids and/or parents will be a bit anxious or nervous, unsure of what is to come. In other cases, there is an almost a giddy excitement about the new challenges. Old friends will greet each other joyfully, while the new children and parents will be feeling their way on how to best fit in. Some children will walk to school alone, while others will have both parents with them and be accompanied all the way to their new classroom. Many of the teachers will carry themselves with an air of confidence and enthusiasm, while others will be a bit more reticent and laid back.
Anger is a part of life. Everybody gets angry sometimes. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t access all of your emotions occasionally. However, I highly encourage you to pay attention to your dominant emotions. If you start the day in a bad mood and it only goes downhill from there, then what did you expect to happen. If you are too easily negatively triggered by the actions of others, then why should you surprised when people disappoint, annoy or avoid you. More often than not, we create the conditions under which we operate. Personal energy is infectious. Everyone we interact with is only feeding off the energy we put out. Just experiment with frowning all day and smiling the next. You will see a big difference. How are you showing up every day? What impact are you having on the people around you?
There is a fine line between being good at what you do for a period of time and achieving sustained success. If you are not careful short-term success can lead to long-term complacency. Once you scale the mountain, start looking for the next peak/challenge. Don’t spend too long enjoying the view from the top. I see it all the time: leaders who once had really high standards and big dreams start lowering their expectations and/or getting distracted by other things. They start to spend more time enjoying the fruits of their success than planting the next crop to harvest. Of course, you should bask in the glow of your accomplishments and take some time to appreciate what winning feels like. However, never forget what it took to get you there.